Missed Departure

12/06/2013 -- Mary Simpson
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Stranded at the airport?  Left fuming at the ferry terminal? 

If you miss your plane, ferry, train or bus through no fault of your own, travel insurance can pay for extra travel expenses to get you to/from your holiday destination.

How much cover?

Cover limits vary between different insurers, anything from £500 to £1,500 per person per trip. 

Good reasons for missed departure

  • strike action
  • mechanical breakdown
  • traffic accident
  • severe weather
  • failure of scheduled public transport

Bad reasons for missed departure

  • you knew there was a strike, eg air traffic control, when booking
  • not leaving enough time for the journey
  • getting caught up in normal traffic

You must supply written evidence of the incident that made you miss the connection eg Police accident/breakdown recovery report.

For car breakdown, the insurer could ask for a service report to check your vehicle has been properly maintained.

If your public transport provider offered you a reasonable alternative, you need to put up a good case for turning it down.

Some insurers won’t cover rental car breakdown. Also see Driving Abroad.

Travel Delay

You can claw back small amounts from your travel insurance for food and drink costs due to transport delays.

What’s covered

  • Strike action you didn’t know about when you bought the policy
  • Bad weather
  • Mechanical breakdown of plane, coach, train or sea vessel

How much cover?

Typically travel insurers offer £20 for food and drinks costs for the first full 12 hours and the same again for each 12 full hours after that up to a maximum of £100.

You’ll need a letter from the carrier stating the period of delay and reason.

Some insurers stipulate 24 hrs’ delay before you can cancel the trip and get a full refund, others 12 hrs.  As always, check the small print.

EU flight rules

You can claim compensation from the airline if your flight is seriously delayed or cancelled by a European airline or at a European airport:

  • £210 - flights inside EU up to 930 miles
  • £330 - flights between 930 - 1,860 miles
  • £500 - for other journeys

If the flight’s cancelled, the airline must get you to your destination, or offer a refund if delayed more than 5 hours.

For long delays they must offer you refreshments/food/accommodation while you wait for the next flight.

You can’t claim amounts listed for delays/cancellation due to extraordinary circumstances eg severe weather/security alert outside the airline’s control.